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Get lean and 'green'

10 tips from UPS you can implement today to make your supply chain more sustainable.

How are you doing business in a more sustainable way? Or do you not see green shipping as valuable to your customers? Share your ideas by commenting on this article.

Sometimes less really is more. Take sustainability, for example. Less consumption – of energy, water, paper, fuel and other natural resources – is much more. More responsible. More environmentally friendly. And sometimes even more efficient and economical.

Of course, going green can have its challenges, especially if you're just getting started. That's where UPS can help. As a longtime leader in sustainability, we have many practical ideas your company can integrate into your business today.

10 ways to green your supply chain
1. Shift your shipping modes from air to ground or from ground to rail or ocean. Slower forms of transportation typically have less impact on the environment. Learn about UPS options for rail and ocean freight.

2. Improve the strength of your packages so there's less damage, and therefore less re-shipping, which doubles your carbon impact. UPS® Packaging Solutions can help you develop and test the right packaging for your shipments.

3. Reuse packing materials such as foam peanuts and air packs – but remember, not all boxes are meant to be reused. Want to know which can and can't? This story explains. Need to get rid of extra packing peanuts? The UPS Store® near you will take them. Find the closest location. (Story continues at the "Continue reading" link below.)

4. Look for reusable document shipping envelopes – and encourage your customers to use them when returning documents to you. Ordering them from UPS is easy! Labels, air shipping packages and more are available free of charge to UPS shippers. You can even use My UPS to easily reorder the supplies you use frequently.

5. Let your carrier know when you don't need a daily pickup to save fuel. Customizing your UPS pickup schedule is simple.

6. Use the right size box. Too big a box means more packing material and wasted space on the trucks or airplanes that deliver your goods. Check out the UPS Packaging Advisor for tips on choosing the right packaging materials and other tips on proper packaging to reduce damage and use less materials.

7. Find ways to consolidate your shipments to the same destinations. This can be particularly efficient when you're shipping overseas. UPS can help get your goods where they need to be with less chance of delay with its customs brokerage services.

8. Because ground transportation produces fewer carbon emissions than air shipping, consider slowing down your supply chain. Ask yourself: Does this shipment have to get there tomorrow? Or would two days be just fine? If your shipment has to get there faster, consider shipping carbon neutral with UPS to offset the carbon impact.

Oops, we were so focused on doing more with less that we cut this list down to eight! But we know there are more ideas out there that you're using to green your supply chain. If you have an idea for saving fuel, paper, water, energy or other natural resources, we want to hear it! Complete our top 10 by submitting your best sustainability tip here or by commenting on this article.

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Reader Comments

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Megan July 7, 2014
Frustrated to find out my local UPS store in NE Minneapolis would also not take my packing peanuts.
Recycled Packing Peanuts April 16, 2014
Located in the heart of New England, Recycled Packing Peanuts accepts all EPS non-recyclable Styrofoam packing peanuts. E-mail us at
Jack March 13, 2014
Well, UPS Store Sierra Vista AZ didn't get the memo! Clerk stated it was "against company policy" to accept used packing peanuts, 3/3/14.